By Sari Huhtala
Creating a culture, one that inspires fulfillment, courage and a sense of community, may be the solution to retaining the most valuable asset to your organization, your employees.
The information-based economy has shifted management challenges to a new level, says Tania Carrière, a speaker at Northern Ontario Business Awards Back to the Basics in the Digital Age conference.
Carrière, a senior consultant in leadership, transformation and strategy, travels across North America and is an expert at facilitating dialogue, which enables groups to develop a unified approach to the strategic goals necessary for implementing change at any level.
Leaders once challenged by managing the tasks of people are now realizing in today's knowledge economy people are central to the organization and in order to retain employees they need to create an environment that embodies cause, courage and community, Carrière says. Essentially, these three items contribute to employee retention.
If employees feel they are working towards a cause, like they are contributing to something greater than their own gain, they will feel a sense of fulfillment and invest the passion that will enable them to perform at their highest potential, Carrière says.
"Fulfillment is the one thing (employees) are seeking all of the time," Carrière says.
Unlike a mission, which asks the question "What are we going to achieve?" cause forces one to ask why they are doing a specific job. Present a cause that will provide employees with a sense of ownership, she suggests.
There are a few simple ground rules to follow in creating a culture to help retain employees.
First, play fair and pay fair. Recognize the value the employee contributes to the organization. It is impossible to connect to anything if one feels devalued, she notes.
Second, be certain to have a sound business strategy that anticipates change. Next, ensure the safety, physical, mental and emotional, of the employee. And finally, create a corporate environment of respect. These attributes are essential in order for an employee to be able to make a commitment to an organization, she notes.
However, cause is merely one facet to creating an environment that will contribute to employee retention. An organization also needs to have courage, she points out.
"A courageous organization is one which can welcome and anticipate change," Carrière says. "When your employees see change, let them exercise control by providing them courage."
Provide informal learning opportunities to enhance skills and they are more likely to embrace change because they will be well equipped with the skills they require to manage their roles, she says.
A sense of community, and connection with others within the organization is vital. Success stories should be shared and celebrated by each individual in the organization, she says.
The new contract is one of bonding, one of communities caring about each other on a personal level.
"That bond is the commitment that's going to retain your employees," Carrière says. "That's the bond that will ensure the organization endures in times of challenge."
When geographyposes a problem, create forums to involve staff members in satellite offices, write e-mails that connect them on a personal things and actively pull people in through online discussions.